At a time when Paula Deen is suffering career-changing backlash for words she used decades ago, at least two players currently residing in the CBS “Big Brother” house are getting smacked with near-instant karma.
And the world is finding out about it before they do.
This week, Texas model Aaryn Gries was dumped by her modeling agency, Zephyr Talent of Austin, for numerous racist and homophobic comments she has made about her fellow housemates, including two African-Americans, an Asian-American and a gay man. According to many news reports, a Zephyr statement says, in part, that Gries has “revealed prejudices and other beliefs that we do not condone.”
Also this week, another player, New Yorker GinaMarie Zimmerman, was likewise dumped by her employer, East Coast Pageant Inc., for racist language (using the same N-word that felled Deen). Zimmerman’s company said, in part, “We have never known this side of GinaMarie or have ever witnessed such acts of racism in the past. We are actually thankful that this show let us see GinaMarie for who she truly is. We would never want her to be a role model to our future contestants.”
As long as they are still in the game, Gries and Zimmerman are sequestered from the outside world and apparently don’t yet know they are no longer employed.
Meanwhile, three other players are also on the hot seat, unbeknownst to them – Spencer Clawson, an Arkansas railroad conductor, who used a gay slur and praised Hitler for his speaking abilities; Texas boat shop worker Jeremy McGuire, who used vulgar misogynistic terms to refer to women in the house; and Kaitlin Barnaby, a Minnesota bartender who used the N-word in a slang reference not implicating anyone in particular.
Apparently there have been no statements yet issued from the employers of those three players.
Meanwhile, Etowah resident Judd Daughtery, who is also competing in the “Big Brother” house this season, has not been implicated for any slurs or bigoted comments.
CBS broadcasts three edited hours of “Big Brother” per week, and none of those shows have addressed the players’ comments. The show’s fans have only seen them by way of 24-hour-a-day live Internet feeds from the house, which CBS offers on a subscription basis, and reported them on various blogs.
The network does not deny the comments were made, and in a statement, CBS said, “At times, the houseguests reveal prejudices and other beliefs that we do not condone. We certainly find the statements made by several of the houseguests on the live Internet feed to be offensive.”
Gries’ many comments have particularly rankled fans, both for the number of them and the range of their prejudices, and some have called for CBS to broadcast them to expose the Texan for her bigotry.
In the past, the network has declined to reveal the nastier sides of some of the contestants. Two years ago, for example, contestant Jeff Schroeder was frequently surly during the live feeds and even launched into an explosive, obscenity-laced homophobic tirade against a fellow contestant who revealed her sister was gay. The rant was captured from the live feeds and put on YouTube, and fans called on CBS to stop editing him so favorably and let America see his darker side on the shows.
Instead, CBS labeled him “America’s Sweetheart” (along with his romantic interest/fellow player Jordan Lloyd) in its promos, and Schroeder was ultimately voted as “America’s Favorite” by fans of the show, the majority of whom don’t subscribe to the live feeds.